When you’re working in a relatively new technology, ‘world firsts’ aren’t all that hard to find.
And with LCD watches, if you came up with a new feature to add to your watch, you can bet the advertisement will carry a ‘World First’ badge somewhere on it.
With Seiko’s excellent 0634 watch, it was the world’s first digital chronograph in an LCD watch.
This, unlike some world firsts, is definitely worth a mention — mostly because nearly every LCD watch made after this point has had a chronograph function built into it and, one would assume, built on the technology first developed by Seiko.
First made in 1975. the 0634 is a popular watch with collectors, and especially this one – the 0634-5019. My one isn’t 100% original at this stage; the LCD had degraded badly and was unusable so until I can find another, I’ve transplanted the LCD from a 0634-5001. They’re identical (believe it or not) in all respects, except the 5001 version has a graphic overlay on the LCD itself with these angular lines, separating the sections of the watch in a less-than-subtle manner.
The 0634-5019 has a unique bracelet, with black PVD coating in places (and on the clasp, which is where it seems to wear/chip from very easily) and a chunky case — perhaps an early look at what would become Seiko’s signature rugged looking cases they created for the Sports 100 and SilverWave models a few short years later.
Without the stopwatch the functionality is quite basic (but remember this *was* 1975) with the time (12-hour only) and date (day only) visible on the ‘home’ screen. The left front button is for the backlight — but that’s about all there is.
The stopwatch, activated by pressing in the button at the 3 o’clock position, counts in 1/10 of a second in the top-right corner, and seconds elapsed (four digits) below. There is a lap function (pressing the left front button) and works well for what it is.
Setting the time is achieved by pulling the ‘crown’ out one click and using the right (select) and left (set) front buttons.
Undeniably 1970s, these are popular watches with collectors and those reliving their childhoods who maybe couldn’t afford one when they were released, the RRP in 1975 was USD275 which equates roughly to USD1150 in today’s money. Depending on condition, these reach anywhere from USD75-600 on the secondhand market today.
If you want to make a statement with your watch, you could do a lot worse than the 0634-5019!